Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 December 29
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Conjunction at Sunset
Image Credit & Copyright: Stefano De Rosa

Explanation: While Comet Lovejoy entertained early morning risers in the southern hemisphere, a lovely conjunction of a young crescent Moon and Venus graced western skies at sunset. Captured on December 26th the conjunction, with beautiful sunset colors above and below, is seen here over Viverone Lake near Turin, Italy. But if you've been outdoors at all lately enjoying sunsets on planet Earth, then you've probably noticed Venus low in the west as the season's brilliant evening star. Sometimes mistaken for a terrestrial light near the horizon, Venus is the third brightest celestial beacon, after the Sun and Moon. That distinction is particularly easy to appreciate in this peaceful scene.

Tomorrow's picture: a hitchhiker's guide

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